Ancient esoteric Jewish sources may have predicted that the recently announced plans to excavate the Siloam Pool in Jerusalem have a major role to play in the Final Redemption.
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced earlier this week that the ancient pool of Siloam, first mentioned in the biblical book of Kings II, will be fully excavated and opened to the public. The project will be carried out in conjunction with the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The plan requires excavating and enlarging the site, restoring it to its original Biblical size.
The Siloam (Shiloach) pool, fed by the Gihon spring, was first built under King Hezekiah, some 2,700 years ago.
“The other events of Hezekiah’s reign, and all his exploits, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought the water into the city, are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Yehuda,” Kings II, 20:20.
During the Second Temple period, millions of pilgrims coming from outside of Jerusalem probably used the pool as a ritual bath (mikveh) before ascending to the Temple Mount, through what archaeologists have dubbed as the “Pilgrimage Road,” the city’s main street that led directly to the sanctuary.
The pool is also mentioned in the Gospel of John as the site where Jesus heals a blind man.
By that point, the pool – which was the city’s main water source – had been renovated and expanded to reach its largest size, approximately 5 dunams (1¼ acres).
Located outside the walls of the Old City, the pool was lost and rediscovered during excavation work for a sewer in the autumn of 2004. Further excavations revealed stone steps dating to the Second Temple. The excavations also revealed that the pool was 225 feet wide and that steps existed on at least three sides of the pool. A portion of this pool remains unexcavated.
In his book, “Moshiach is coming; Are you ready?”, Rabbi Alon Anava discussed several esoteric sources that relate to the Shiloach Pool.
The first source Rabbi Anava brings is Rabbi Yosef Chaim (1832-1909), a Sephardi kabbalist from Baghdad, Iraq known as the Ben Ish Chai. In his book, Ben Yehoyada, the Ben Ish Chai quotes Rabbi Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi (1534 – July 25, 1572) known as the Arizal who relates that his student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, had a dream in which he was told that King Hezekiah had blocked the Gihon but opening the spring would usher in the Messiah.
Rabbi Anava went on to cite Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866), known as the Tzemach Tzedek who was the third leader of the Chabad branch of Hassidut. In his book, Sefer Halikkutim, the Tzemach Tzedek wrote that Adam made teshuva (repentance) while submerged up to his neck in the waters of the Gihon. The Tzemach Tzedek explained that the Gihon was one of the four rivers that flowed out of Eden (Gen. 2:13). He commented another name for a snake (nachash) is gahon which literally means ‘stomach’. This is because a snake crawls on its belly. But the word gihon has an additional letter yud which is the first letter of God’s name. The snake draws holiness from the waters of the Gihon. The snake coming from holiness (i.e. the Gihon River) represents the tikkun (fixing) of the sin of Adam and Even that caused Man to be ejected from Eden. For this reason, the gematria (numerical value) of nachash (snake) is 358, equal to the gematria of Moshiach (Messiah).
“The root of Moshiach comes from the snake of the holy realm,” Rabbi Anava explained. “It is the same level of the copper snake,” he wrote, referring to the totem called the Nechushtan that was used to heal the Jews in the desert (Numbers 21:8). “This was a holy entity that had the power to heal and cure the people.”
“Therefore, we can conclude that Messiah is coming from the source of the Gihon,” Rabbi Anava wrote. “If it is widened, then this initiates the redemption.”
Rabbi Anava then noted that King Solomon was anointed by the waters of Gihon, hinting that revealing the Gihon would be necessary to anoint the Messiah king from the Davidic dynasty.